In Praise Of Type O Negative
Type O Negative were a larger than life band from Brooklyn, New York in the 90s. Led by the hulking Pete Steele, whose imposing frame, sepulchral baritone vocals and deep throbbing bass lines was the principle song writer. The lyrics were often playful, dark and imaginative. The music a melting pot of influences.
What made Type O Negative so special was they had an insane sense of melody and outlandish imagery as well as their sheer inventiveness when it came to their musicianship. Heavy metal guitars, swirling 60s Hammond key boards, guttural growls breaking into soaring beach boys style harmonies – nothing seemed to be off limits.
What caught my attention as a teenager in the 90s was Black No 1 (Little Miss Scare All). I was an avid listener to the Rock Show by a 90s British heavy metal DJ called Krusher who played the song on his midnight show on Radio 1 – and I was hooked. The song deeply echoed the Sisters Of Mercy with its slow build up and soaring build up climaxing into a rip roaring sing along. Check out the song here:
I ran out and bought the Bloody Kisses album straight away. This was my introduction to the band. It was their second LP and their breakout record that got them into the alternative playlists on MTV.
Other key highlights include Christian Woman:
The next record brought a wonderful cover of Neil Young’s Cinnamon Girl. This is what good cover songs should all be about – reinventing the song and reinterpreting it. Not repeating it note for note. If you can’t better it, do something different.
In terms of other notable cuts that stood out, the then controversial My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend which got a lot of column inches in the 90s however seems tame in comparison to today. Perhaps also not that politically correct either. Don’t let it distract you from the fact, it’s a very melodic and catchy song.
On the heavier side check out the catchily titled Gravitational Constant G = 6.67 * 10-8 cm-3 gm-1 sec-2
Pete sadly passed away in 2010 prematurely, leaving a body of magnificent work. I can’t help wondering how many more great records he had up his sleeve. They were criminally underrated and deserved much more success. As with all artists who pass away, we mourn them more when they are gone and under-appreciate them when they are around. If you had to buy just one of their records make it Bloody Kisses, their second LP.